Thursday, October 04, 2007

Haven't had a chance to write about the online publishing panel I participated in over the weekend. It went pretty well. Afterward there was a lively Q&A. A woman in the audience asked a question, I forget exactly how she worded it, but picked up on how conscious she was of trying to word it right. She didn't want to come off as being careerist, but she had some serious concerns about how she should go about publishing her work. She mentioned examples of her classmates who refused to submit work to online magazines, instead only sending work to "big name" magazines that paid in hopes of getting the attention of an agent. I think one of her classmates landed an agent with this approach. Granted she and her classmates were fiction writers and there is a difference between fiction writers and poets. Fiction writers have a sliver of a chance in hell of making money from their writing. Basically she asked what should she do -- she had a decision before her, should she adopt an art as a strategy approach or is there another recipe for success?

Well, I'm a poet and I'm pretty sure my answer didn't satisfy her. My "send your work to magazines that publish work you like" wasn't sufficient. Maybe she was hoping one of us would give an example of somebody landing an agent or a book deal by publishing at our online magazine. She missed the whole "you can empower yourself" message of the panel. I kind of felt bad, sensed a lot of anxiety. Made me really happy I'm long out of grad school and not getting any more doses of that great publishing advice from my teachers and fellow students.



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